The Robots Are Coming: AI and the Future of Fundraising

Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 11:30 AM to 01:30 PM

Autonomous vehicles. Alexa. Chatbots. Google. Whether or not you realize it, artificial intelligence is everywhere and may soon be coming to an advancement shop near you. According to a Nonprofit Trends Report from Salesforce Research, the use of artificial intelligence in the nonprofit sector is projected to grow by 361% in the next two years. But, like all new technologies, nonprofit organizations are grappling with how to get started with AI and how to use it ethically and effectively.

Please join our panel of forward-thinking advancement professionals for a conversation to explore AI and the future of machine-assisted fundraising. Hear from our panel about what “AI” really is and the many ways in which it has already infiltrated our day-to-day lives and work in the field of advancement. Hear from early-adopters who have already begun using AI, and hear from them about the advantages and limitations of these tools. Learn from industry leaders about some of the breathtaking potential future applications of AI — which stand to support every advancement function, from annual fund and major gifts, to prospect research and stewardship — as well as about some of the potentially serious ethical implications of using AI to drive development.

Anticipated takeaways:

  • What AI is and how is it being used already?
  • Current examples and potential future applications of AI in philanthropy
  • Ethical considerations for development professionals using AI

Audience/Target Market: All fundraising practitioners from organizations large and small.

Lindsey Cimochowski, Associate Director of Operations & Administration, Development and Alumni Relations, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Lindsey Cimochowski has nearly 15 years of experience in the nonprofit world with over a decade of it spent working in higher education fundraising. She is currently the Associate Director of Operations & Administration of Development and Alumni Relations at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. In that role she manages staff, budgets, prospect management and development, major gift operations, donor relations and stewardship, data management and business intelligence. 

In many of her roles Lindsey has worked to create systems and implement processes in order to advance fundraising operations and increase revenue. She also has experience working on fundraising events, running annual funds, and working with volunteers. Lindsey has worked at the Boston Architectural College, the Boston Center for the Arts, GLAD – Legal Advocates & Defenders, and Wheelock College (now Wheelock College of Education & Human Development at Boston University) as well as interned at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Lindsey holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, a Graduate Certificate in Fundraising Management and a Master of Science in Arts Administration from Boston University. She has served on the board of WID for nearly three years and is currently the co-chair of the Programs Committee. She is also a member of the Association of Advancement Services Professionals.


Rich Palmer, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Gravyty
As co-founder and CTO of Gravyty, the first and leading artificial intelligence company focused solely on social good, Rich Palmer is driven by applying technology in ways that improve our world for the better. Under Rich’s leadership, Gravyty has created the first suite of AI tools for fundraiser enablement. These tools have been proven to help organizations raise more revenue for their causes without hiring more staff, predict potential donors, and change the behavior of frontline fundraisers to increase efficiency.

Prior to Gravyty, Rich was senior product manager and software engineer at RelSci, a $120M business connection intelligence platform and the head of portfolio analytics for Standard & Poor’s CapitalIQ’s quantitative solutions team. Rich is also a natural entrepreneur and has founded four technology-based companies. He was the recipient of the 2015-2016 Entrepreneurship Award from Babson College. 

Rich holds a BS in Economics and Information Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from Babson. He lives in the Greater Boston area with his wife, Brittany, and dog, Atlas.

David Woodruff, Associate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Resource Development, MIT
David is Associate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Resource Development at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and he has served in this capacity since June 2012. There he oversees front-line and support operations of a development team that raises more than $500 million per year. MIT recently launched the public phase of its $5 billion comprehensive campaign, The MIT Campaign for a Better World.

 David first worked at MIT between 1984 and 2002. His assignments included corporate fundraising and individual giving and he led the major gifts team in MIT’s successful $2 billion campaign in 1997-2004, Calculated Risks/Creative Revolutions. He also represented the Institute throughout the Asia-Pacific region and drove MIT’s international fundraising strategy.

Between 2002 and 2008, David was Chief Development Officer at Harvard School of Public Health where he headed up initial planning for the School’s portion of a Harvard University campaign. David and his team brought donors to Botswana, India, Tibet, China, and Cyprus to witness first-hand the work of the School and understand the role of philanthropy in executing the School’s global mission. 

From 2008 to 2012, David held the post of Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for Development at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) where he oversaw overall development operations and guided the execution of the hospital’s successful $1.5 billion campaign, The Campaign for the Third Century of Medicine. 

David received his bachelor’s degree from MIT and master’s degree from Stanford University. David also earned his MBA from Babson College. David has been a frequent presenter at conferences held by CASE, AFP and AHP and serves on a number of nonprofit boards. In 2017 he was the recipient of CASE’s Quarter Century Circle Award for fundraising service in higher education. David is also a Certified Fundraising Executive. In 2019, David was elected president of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Registration and Networking: 11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Program: 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Space is Limited

Registration: $20 for members (before 2/19/20), $35 for non-members (and for members who register late, after 2/19/20)

Remember, it’s a WID networking tradition to swap business cards – bring yours!

 No refunds within 7 days of program

The Link at Kendall Square, 255 Main Street, 8th Floor, Cambridge, Mass. 02142